Microsoft is competing head-on with America Online with the introduction of an internet subscription service aimed at families.

Launching today in New York, MSN 8 offers features such as parental access controls, filters for unwanted email marketing and content such as Picture It photography software and the Encarta encyclopaedia.

However, unlike AOL’s all-in-one package, the Microsoft service will not include internet access, which users must obtain from a separate provider.

MSN 8 will cross the Atlantic next month, launching on November 26 in the UK, where it will cost £6.99 ($10.82; €11.06) a month or £59.99 a year. The roll-out will be backed by what is claimed to be the biggest ever online marketing campaign in Britain.

Throwing down the gauntlet to market leader AOL, Microsoft says it wants to build MSN into as big a business as its all-conquering Office software.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff